The process of divorce and separation


Whether you are thinking about separation or divorce we can put you through to highly recommended divorce solicitors who can answer any questions you have regarding the separation or divorce process.

Informally separating

You and your spouse can separate under an informal agreement between you both. If this is the case then you may have to inform certain people such as:

  • Your benefits office if you are claiming welfare benefits
  • Your local council if you pay council tax
  • HM Revenue and Customs if you receive tax benefits

Judicial (legal) separation

A judicial separation, sometimes known as a legal separation, is an order made by a divorce court, usually a county court. Although the parties will remain legally married, the order will end the normal marital obligations and stop the parties from having to live together.

Separating with a separation agreement

A separation agreement is where parties to a marriage will negotiate and agree on how finances should be dealt with and what should happen to their children following a separation.

Not all couples want the finality of a divorce, but do want to separate in some sort of formal way. In such cases, a separation agreement is a way for providing that comfort.  Separation agreements can be used whether you intend to separate on a trial basis or longer.

Essentially, a separation agreement is a formal written agreement that records the financial arrangement that the married couple agreed upon following their decision to separate. This can include things like:

  • Who should pay the mortgage bill
  • How much maintenance should be paid by one spouse to the other
  • Where any children of the marriage should live
  • How much contact one parent should have with the children

Each party to a separation agreement requires their own independent legal advisors for the agreement to be valid. As a separation agreement is a legally binding document, if either party fails to respect any terms set out in the agreement then the other party could sue for breach of contract.

Additionally, if either party wishes to amend the terms in the agreement at a later stage, providing the other party agrees, this can be arranged.

A separation agreement can be arranged through solicitors and if you and your spouse agree on the issues in the agreement you will not need to go to court. The advantage of having a written agreement is that both parties will easily understand what has been agreed and either party can change any part of the agreement at a later stage, providing both sides agree.

For more information on separation, see our information page on separation agreements.

Do you need to find a family law solicitor to explain whether you should choose the divorce or the separation route? Contact Law can put you in touch with specialists around the country to suit your type of case. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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